In spite of my black thumb, we tended a tiny vegetable garden last year. It wasn’t the stuff of Better Homes and Gardens, but consuming homegrown produce was gratifying. And it was a significant improvement over the weeds. I like to weed; I like to see instant change. But my enthusiasm screeches to a halt when it comes to weeds in my life. Those kind of weeds make me want to run for the hills. Or maybe dig a hole, crawl in it, and stay there.
Before kids, I labored under the delusion that I was patient. <Cue laugh track> Then God revealed what he already knew lurked inside. The weed of impatience cropped up again one morning and choked some of the life out of my interactions with my seven -year-old. But we dealt with it and moved forward. So why was the incident mentally replaying?
You’re a bad mom! Shouldn’t you have this patience thing down by now? You’re going to permanently damage your kids! Two email messages stopped the mental tirade. Each was from someone thanking me. Seeds of kindness planted, now sprouting. Timely.
And then this thought gently landed: Keep planting those seeds.
What I forget is weeds don’t stop growing just because I’m planting and watering. The good grows alongside the bad. Unlike pulling weeds, growing anything good takes time and effort. Which takes patience. With myself.
But while life is messy and weeds are inevitable, God promises he will finish what he starts, so God’s children have a promise of future perfection – a life without weeds – in heaven.
The tension between eventual perfection and my present, messy reality forces me to decide: Will I ignore the weeds? Will I try to hide them? Will I try to annihilate them on my own? Will I despair over them? Or will I allow them to prompt me to look up sometimes? I think this is why I love 2 Corinthians 5:21 so much, because it shifts my thinking from myself to him who embodies perfection. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
Jesus Christ is my present and future perfection.
This change in thinking has made a big difference for me. Remembering and practicing shifting my hope from myself to Jesus results in inward peace I can’t manufacture. It also hands over control to the Master Gardener who can do the miracle of removing weeds while preserving life and beauty.
Something else I’ve discovered: watching life grow is infectious!
At some point after planting, seeds split open, grope their way through the dark, and announce above ground what is already happening underground: life is growing!
It’s a beautiful upward spiral: the more we plant, the more that sprouts. The more that sprouts, the more beauty grows. The more beauty grows, the more hope is restored and the less space is left for weeds. It’s a cycle worth perpetuating. And it’s not futile!
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
Even if we’ve already given up because the jungle of weeds has choked out anything representing life, hope is not gone…because God is not gone. The fickleness of people gets old, but the faithfulness of God never does. The Son of God resurrected himself; he can resurrect any relationship, dream, or hope we’ve long since given up for dead.
Are you maintaining daily weeds, floundering in a jungle, or someplace in between? How will you respond to the inevitable weeds?
Let’s trust the weeds to the Master Gardener and keep planting those seeds.